Saigon’s boxer

Cyril Terrones is well-known in Saigon, not just for his fighting-style gym, Cyril and You, in District 2, but for his vivacious personality and his well-attended, morning conditioning classes by the river. But few know that this French-born trainer and boxer was once the welterweight champion of France.

The year that Cyril achieved his all-conquering prowess was 1998, a year that saw him rise to the top of his profession. But with 39 professional fights including 27 wins and one draw under his muscular belt, he decided that punching and getting punched for a living was no longer for him.“I was an educator at a French school during my first year in Vietnam,” he recalls. “[Then] I was a manager at Nutrifort.

Eventually I opened my business and met my wife. After that my life changed. ”Rather than getting members to pay a monthly or annual payment for their membership, Cyril gets his cohorts to pay for a package of 10 classes at a time. Whether it’s conditioning, yoga, Zumba, boxing or general fitness classes, these can be used at any time.

“I don’t want to take anyone’s money for nothing,” he explains. “So, your first class is free and then you just pay for 10 classes and take them when your time allows. Around 70 percent of my clients are foreigners and it fits with their schedules. They are busy with their families, kids and schools, so I can’t expect them to always be
focused on fitness.

”For Cyril, the first thing you need to become a martial artist or a boxer is motivation. “Life is a disease you’re fighting against,” he explains. “But outside [the gym] is different. Fighting is fighting.

You have to follow the rules, but it lets you get out your bad energy, your frustration.”He adds: “Fighting is 70 percent in the mind — it’s like a game of chess. The beauty is in the movement and combining it with the power of fighting. Even though I have been boxing since 1987, it still fascinates and enthuses me.”

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